Business development · 3 July 2017

Who can you trust to maintain your assets? The low-down on facilities management

When will the day come when you need facilities management services?
When will the day come when you need facilities management services?

When you’re starting a new business or company, facilities management is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But as you grow and your needs change, how should you go about choosing a supplier?

You want your businesses to expand, but with that comes a requirement for more kinds of services. Eventually, a business may find itself in need of facilities management services – and this can come as something of a gear shift, especially for businesses that were based out of an entrepreneur’s bedroom, or shared working spaces not all that long ago.

Facilities management does what it says on the tip – it’s a service that maintains your facilities, such as buildings, energy and equipment.

So, what do you need in a facilities management supplier? We caught up with Roger Brennan, MD of Aramark Northern Europe’s Facilities Management, for his insight.

“It’s fair to say that we do not profile any particular client type or sector.” said Brennan. “But it should always be about one thing: can the supplier add value, regardless of whether a client is at the earliest states of moving to an outsourced model, or at a very mature stage.”

Cost versus value

The important thing for every business to bear in mind is that when it comes to choosing a provider, if you get it wrong you’ll fail before you’ve left the gate.

“Sometimes organisations get it wrong between cost and value,” explained Brennan. “Finding the right supplier can be transformational in more ways than just the delivery of in-scope services. It can drive employee engagement which helps retain talent.

“The efficiencies and cost benefits can be achieved on an on-going basis with a partnership approach. My advice to any business considering an outsourced solution is to put the time in to really understanding what it is they want to get out of the process and have a vision for how they would like to benefit from such a solution without it being solely cost-driven.”

This is of course of particular importance to micro businesses, for whom outsourcing services can be a real stretch on resources – it’s vital to make sure every penny is well spent.

What factors should you consider?

As Brennan said, it’s key to weigh up long-term benefits as well as the quick wins. If you find a particularly cheap supplier, you may be tempted to take the company at face value – but you really should stop to consider why it is so cheap.

How good is the service? How quickly will they respond if something goes wrong? If your building has a problem and you have to send your workers home, that downtime can cost productivity, which will hit your bottom line.

For this reason, customer service is something that Aramark prides itself on.

“Aramark’s origin is in hospitality and customer service. It is one of the pillars of our business and will always be front and centre in how we deliver services across all divisions of business,” said Brennan. “Our training and re-training programmes are very much focused on enabling and supporting our employees to deliver customer service experiences at the highest industry standard.”

Brennan believes that every good facilities management provider should understand its own capabilities, and be able to build upon its strengths. His advice to small business owners looking to take on their first facilities management provider is simple:

“Take the time to engage internal stakeholders to build a consensus around what the overall vision and ambition should be, and once that alignment is complete, go to the market.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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